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Top 5 Electro Acoustic Guitars under £500

Updated on August 6, 2015
photo credit: Playing Guitar via photopin (license)
photo credit: Playing Guitar via photopin (license)

There are a bewildering array of guitars on the market these days, so finding one that you know you can trust for a reasonable price can be a daunting task. We have selected five of the best electro acoustic guitars that you will be able to perform brilliantly with straight away. All these guitars have different advantages so there will be something for everyone, no matter what your preferences are.

1. Martin LX1E

We begin with a familiar mark of quality with this Martin guitar. The main advantage of this one is its versatility. It seems designed to be able to cope with whatever style you choose to play.

It is a small guitar, so there might be some image issues, but the tone defies its size. It has a surprisingly bold, warm sound for such a small instrument, and, on the plus side it makes it more portable.

This guitar is crafted from a solid spruce top with a mahogany laminate (high-pressure) back and sides which give it its powerful tone. It looks great too with its satin finish, allowing it to take pride of place amongst the always handsome Martin guitars.

Acoustic maestro Ed Sheeran swears by this guitar so you know it has friends in high places. Some outlets charge over £500 for this model but, with a little bit of shopping around, you can easily get it for under.

The Martin LX1E is a great little guitar at a very reasonable price!

2. Blueridge BR63CE

Admittedly this guitar is usually priced over £500, but not by much and you should be able to get a hard case for that kind of money, making it great value for a guitar of this quality. If your budget is strict, I would suggest negotiating to try to get it without the case for around the £500 mark.

The Blueridge BR63CE rivals the higher end Martins and Taylors but costs half the price! It has a slimline neck with a cutaway, catering for those who like to solo as well as strum. It is a guitar that is nice and light, but not to the detriment of the sound. The hand carved rosewood parabolic back makes its solid spruce top resonate brilliantly. It has a mahogany neck with a dovetail joint which offers strength and reliability in all circumstances.

Generally this guitar offers quite a bright sound, which might put some people off, but through the good quality Fishman Presys Plus pickup the sound is very balanced and warm when plugged in. If you’re testing it out, make sure you ask to hear it through an amp.

The Blueridge is an absolute cracker of a guitar that represents huge value for money compared to its more well-known rivals. This one is seriously worth a lot of consideration.

3. Cordoba C5-CEBK

This guitar is one for those of a more Spanish or classical persuasion. Given its maker, you won’t be surprised to discover it’s a nylon strung guitar in a Spanish tradition, except this one offers a nicely styled cutaway for better fret access.

It boasts a Canadian cedar top and a mahogany back which makes the tone of this guitar wonderfully warm, and the Fishman Isys Plus pickup (similar to the Blueridge) keeps the sound very natural when amplified.

This one is available in a number of finishes, including jet black and sunburst, and usually available for around the £300 mark, you cannot go wrong with it! This is a brilliant and beautifully styled guitar at a very low price.

4. Ibanez JSA5

Those who like to shred will have just pricked up their ears at the mention of Ibanez, and sure, this guitar comes highly endorsed by Joe Satriani. In fact, it seems it was designed by Satriani himself.

Available for around £400, this is a great all-rounder. It offers a well-balanced sound that is great for a variety of playing styles. Its back and sides are crafted from solid Engelmann spruce, which gives this guitar its reliable consistency, but its laminate mahogany top detracts from its quality just a touch. The tone isn’t as warm as its rivals’, but its sheer versatility is a real selling point.

As you would perhaps expect from an Ibanez, it is particularly useful for soloing. Its Sonicore Piezo pickup is punchy when picking out melodies, so for shredders and soloers who fancy going acoustic, the Ibanez JSA5 could be the best budget option.

photo credit: Ibanez PM35 via photopin (license)
photo credit: Ibanez PM35 via photopin (license)

5. Freshman Apollo 3 DC

Freshman is developing a bit of a reputation for surprising quality. The Apollo 3 DC is another one that punches above its weight. It probably won’t take you over the moon, so to speak, but at around the £500 mark it is a great value guitar.

This one is made with solid spruce back and sides with a very sturdy design. The combination of these gives it a very robust tone. Unlike the Ibanez, the mahogany laminate top doesn’t detract from the overall sound, as it tempers the resonance just enough to make the individual strings audible above the overall acoustic resonance, which makes this guitar great for strumming and fingerpicking. This versatility is reinforced by its Fishman Presys dual blend system, which is the perfect pickup choice for the sound and adaptability of this guitar.

The Freshman isn’t going to turn any heads, but it is a great quality guitar at a good price.

Which of These Guitars Would be Your Favourite?

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